Aspiring future doctors from around the UK have spent a week attending the ‘I Want to Be a Doctor’ course at a unique residential programme at The James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough.
The course offers high achieving 16 to 17 year olds from less advantaged backgrounds an insight into what it is like to be a doctor. The week-long programme featured interactive practical workshops, operations and the chance to question senior medical staff about career options in medicine.
For the third year running, the medical student team at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust organised the programme, for the Social Mobility Foundation (SMF) supported by Health Education England.
The 54 enthusiastic young people were able to meet staff from South Tees, local General Practices, military personnel and Tees, Esk and Wear Valley Mental Health Trust. The event provided an opportunity to demonstrate why the north east is the best place to train as a doctor – and to showcase all that Teesside has to offer as a place to live.
By staying in hospital residences at James Cook, students were able to see what life is like for a doctor at a very busy teaching and major trauma hospital. As well as watching several surgical procedures via a live link to theatres, students also took part in a wide range of interactive workshops including putting on plaster casts, falls prevention and life as a GP.
There were many opportunities to talk to doctors about different careers, to learn more about mental health and ask other senior people such as the trust’s CEO about how big hospitals are run and the challenges they face. They also benefited from consultant mentors, skill sessions and university application support.
The 16 and 17-year-olds used the high-tech educational equipment at the South Tees Research, Innovation and Education (STRIVE) Academic Centre, including life-like patient simulation training as part of their week of work experience.
The course enabled the trust to show the wide range of career options available in medicine. Having 37 different specialist departments on one site provided students with many opportunities to learn and be inspired. This work experience has helped 39% of the 2017 attendees to get into a medical degree in a UK university and a further 39% have chosen healthcare related degrees at university, providing exciting job opportunities for them and talented staff for the NHS in the future.
David Macafee, director of medical education at the trust said: “We have had another excellent event this year and it’s great to welcome young people to our hospital and a fantastic opportunity for us to showcase the great facilities we have here.
“We hope that the experience has inspired them to become the doctors of the future and that some of them will want to come back and work here with us when they finish medical school.”
One of the students attending the course, Nicole Olagesin from Middlesbrough, said, “The Medicine Residential has given me an insight into the options that I have. I didn’t really realise there were so many different roles I could do”.
David Johnston OBE, chief executive of The Social Mobility Foundation said, “The Social Mobility Foundation are delighted to be working with South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust for the third year in a row to run a residential programme for aspiring medics from disadvantaged backgrounds.
“Students have come from across the UK to take part and the fantastic experiences they have had through the week has given them real life experience of the medical sector.
“South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s continued support for the SMF’s work shows their commitment to improving social mobility and access to careers in the medical profession.”